Category Archives: Heart Disease

Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. – PubMed – NCBI

I’ve probably read and blogged here about most of the individual articles that comprise this meta-analysis.

Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.


There is some evidence supporting the beneficial effects of a Paleolithic Diet (PD) on cardiovascular disease risk factors. This diet advises consuming lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and avoiding intake of grains, dairy products, processed foods, and added sugar and salt. This study was performed to assess the effects of a PD on cardiovascular disease risk factors including anthropometric indexes, lipid profile, blood pressure, and inflammatory markers using data from randomized controlled trials. A comprehensive search was performed in the PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases up to August, 2018. A meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model to estimate the pooled effect size. Meta-analysis of 8 eligible studies revealed that a PD significantly reduced body weight [weighted mean difference (WMD) = -2.17 kg; 95% CI: -3.48, -0.87 kg], waist circumference (WMD = -2.90 cm; 95% CI: -4.51, -1.28 cm), body mass index (in kg/m2) (WMD = -1.15; 95% CI: -1.68, -0.62), body fat percentage (WMD = -1.38%; 95% CI: -2.08%, -0.67%), systolic (WMD = -4.24 mm Hg; 95% CI: -7.11, -1.38 mm Hg) and diastolic (WMD = -2.95 mm Hg; 95% CI: -4.72, -1.18 mm Hg) blood pressure, and circulating concentrations of total cholesterol (WMD = -0.22 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.42, -0.03 mg/dL), TGs (WMD = -0.23 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.46, -0.01 mg/dL), LDL cholesterol (WMD = -0.13 mg/dL; 95% CI: -0.25, -0.01 mg/dL), and C-reactive protein (CRP) (WMD = -0.41 mg/L; 95% CI: -0.81, -0.008 mg/L) and also significantly increased HDL cholesterol (WMD = 0.05 mg/dL; 95% CI: 0.005, 0.10 mg/dL). However, sensitivity analysis revealed that the overall effects of a PD on lipid profile, blood pressure, and circulating CRP concentrations were significantly influenced by removing some studies, hence the results must be interpreted with caution. Although the present meta-analysis revealed that a PD has favorable effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors, the evidence is not conclusive and more well-designed trials are still needed.

Advances in Nutrition. 2019 Apr 30. pii: nmz007. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz007. [Epub ahead of print]. Authors are Ghaedi E., Mohammadi M, Mohammadi H, Ramezani-Jolfaie N, Malekzadeh J, Hosseinzadeh M, Salehi-Abargouei A.

Source: Effects of a Paleolithic Diet on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. – PubMed – NCBI

Is Sodium Restriction Important?

I’m still not convinced that severe sodium restriction is necessary or even possible for most people

U.S public health authorities recommend maximum daily sodium consumption of 2.3 grams a day, in order to prevent cardiovascular disease. But a 2018 multi-country study published in Lancet supports a much different and higher maximum sodium intake level:

Sodium intake was associated with cardiovascular disease and strokes only in communities where mean intake was greater than 5 g/day. A strategy of sodium reduction in these communities and countries but not in others might be appropriate.

The researchers also found, “All major cardiovascular outcomes decreased with increasing potassium intake in all countries.”

Click for a list of potassium-rich foods from a .gov website.

You’ll find several cold-water fatty fish there.

My Paleobetic Diet recommends the fish but you’ll find no sodium restriction advice.

Source: Urinary sodium excretion, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and mortality: a community-level prospective epidemiological cohort study – The Lancet

Exercise Training Adds Heart and Metabolic  Benefits to a Paleolithic Diet in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Caveman selfie



The accumulation of myocardial triglycerides and remodeling of the left ventricle are common features in type 2 diabetes mellitus and represent potential risk factors for the development of diastolic and systolic dysfunction. A few studies have investigated the separate effects of diet and exercise training on cardiac function, but none have investigated myocardial changes in response to a combined diet and exercise intervention. This 12-week randomized study assessed the effects of a Paleolithic diet, with and without additional supervised exercise training, on cardiac fat, structure, and function.

Methods and Results

Twenty-two overweight and obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus were randomized to either a Paleolithic diet and standard-care exercise recommendations ( PD ) or to a Paleolithic diet plus supervised exercise training 3 hours per week ( PD – EX ). This study includes secondary end points related to cardiac structure and function, ie, myocardial triglycerides levels, cardiac morphology, and strain were measured using cardiovascular magnetic resonance, including proton spectroscopy, at baseline and after 12 weeks. Both groups showed major favorable metabolic changes. The PD – EX group showed significant decreases in myocardial triglycerides levels (-45%, P=0.038) and left ventricle mass to end-diastolic volume ratio (-13%, P=0.008) while the left ventricle end-diastolic volume and stroke volume increased significantly (+14%, P=0.004 and +17%, P=0.008, respectively). These variables were unchanged in the PD group.


Exercise training plus a Paleolithic diet reduced myocardial triglycerides levels and improved left ventricle remodeling in overweight/obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Clinical Trial Registration URL : . Unique identifier: NCT 01513798.”

Source: Exercise Training Adds Cardiometabolic Benefits of a Paleolithic Diet in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. – PubMed – NCBI

Dr Ken Berry: How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Lot’s of good ideas in this video. Additionally, I’ve see a couple studies supporting hibiscus tea as a natural remedy.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!: High Cholesterol Doesn’t Cause Heart Disease, Say Doctors

Plaque unrelated to cholesterol

This in not news to most of my readers here.

From The Irish Times:

There is no evidence that high levels of total cholesterol or of “bad” cholesterol cause heart disease, according to a new paper by 17 international physicians based on a review of patient data of almost 1.3 million people.

The authors also say their review shows the use of statins – cholesterol lowering drugs – is “of doubtful benefit” when used as primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

The authors include Galway-based Prof Sherif Sultan, professor of the International Society for Vascular Surgery; Scottish-based Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con; and Dr David M Diamond, a US-based neuroscientist and cardiovascular disease researcher.

Prof Sultan said millions of people all over the world, including many with no history of heart disease, are taking statins “despite unproven benefits and serious side effects”.

Source: ‘No evidence’ high cholesterol causes heart disease, say doctors

Tighter Blood Pressure Control May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss: How Low?

Exercise also seems to protect against memory loss and dementia

Keep your eyes on this development, folks. Potential game-changer. And a boon to Big Pharma. From…

Lowering blood pressure to recommended levels can prevent dementia and the memory and thinking problems that often show up first [mild cognitive impairment], researchers reported Wednesday.

People whose top blood pressure reading was taken down to 120 were 19 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, the loss of memory and brain processing power that usually precedes Alzheimer’s, the study found. And they were 15 percent less likely to eventually develop cognitive decline and dementia.


It may take a few more years before the study conclusively shows whether the risk of Alzheimer’s was actually reduced because of the lower blood pressure,the researchers said.

It’s the first intervention that has been clearly demonstrated to lower rates of mental decline.


The findings come from a large trial of blood pressure called the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT.

It has already found that lowering systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — to 120 or less can prevent stroke, heart attacks, kidney disease and other problems.

Source: Tight blood pressure control can cut memory loss, study finds

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have No Effect on Cardiovascular Disease After All

Salmon, a cold-water fatty fish, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids

That headline is the conclusion of a Cochrane systematic review of the evidence. As you read the summary below, be aware that the main omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-lenolinic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

From Cochrane Library:

Increasing EPA and DHA has little or no effect on all‐cause deaths and cardiovascular events (high‐quality evidence) and probably makes little or no difference to cardiovascular death, coronary deaths or events, stroke, or heart irregularities (moderate‐quality evidence, coronary events are illnesses of the arteries which supply the heart). EPA and DHA slightly reduce serum triglycerides and raise HDL (high‐quality evidence).

Eating more ALA (for example, by increasing walnuts or enriched margarine) probably makes little or no difference to all‐cause or cardiovascular deaths or coronary events but probably slightly reduce cardiovascular events, coronary mortality and heart irregularities (moderate/low‐quality evidence). Effects of ALA on stroke are unclear as the evidence was of very low quality.

There is evidence that taking omega‐3 capsules does not reduce heart disease, stroke or death. There is little evidence of effects of eating fish. Although EPA and DHA reduce triglycerides, supplementary omega‐3 fats are probably not useful for preventing or treating heart and circulatory diseases. However, increasing plant‐based ALA may be slightly protective for some heart and circulatory diseases.

Source: Omega‐3 fatty acids for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease – Abdelhamid, AS – 2018 | Cochrane Library

Paleo Diet Improves Lipid Profile Better Than AHA’s Grain-Based Hearth-Healthy Diet in Adults With High Cholesterol

He’s not worried about his lipids

Abstract from the journal Nutrition Research:

Recent research suggests that traditional grain-based heart-healthy diet recommendations, which replace dietary saturated fat with carbohydrate and reduce total fat intake, may result in unfavorable plasma lipid ratios, with reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and an elevation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triacylglycerols (TG). The current study tested the hypothesis that a grain-free Paleolithic diet would induce weight loss and improve plasma total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and TG concentrations in nondiabetic adults with hyperlipidemia to a greater extent than a grain-based heart-healthy diet, based on the recommendations of the American Heart Association. Twenty volunteers (10 male and 10 female) aged 40 to 62 years were selected based on diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia. Volunteers were not taking any cholesterol-lowering medications and adhered to a traditional heart-healthy diet for 4 months, followed by a Paleolithic diet for 4 months. Regression analysis was used to determine whether change in body weight contributed to observed changes in plasma lipid concentrations. Differences in dietary intakes and plasma lipid measures were assessed using repeated-measures analysis of variance. Four months of Paleolithic nutrition significantly lowered (P < .001) mean total cholesterol, LDL, and TG and increased (P < .001) HDL, independent of changes in body weight, relative to both baseline and the traditional heart-healthy diet. Paleolithic nutrition offers promising potential for nutritional management of hyperlipidemia in adults whose lipid profiles have not improved after following more traditional heart-healthy dietary recommendations.

PMID: 26003334 DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.05.002

Source: Paleolithic nutrition improves plasma lipid concentrations of hypercholesterolemic adults to a greater extent than traditional heart-healthy dietar… – PubMed – NCBI

Authors are Pastore RL, Brooks JT, and Carbone JW

NASEM: Don’t Trust U.S. Dietary Guidelines

Back to the drawing board

NASEM is the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Andy Harris writes that:

The nation’s senior scientific body recently released a new report raising serious questions about the “scientific rigor” of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This report confirms what many in government have suspected for years and is the reason why Congress mandated this report in the first place: our nation’s top nutrition policy is not based on sound science.

Dr. Harris notes that since 1980, when the guidelines were first published, rates of obesity have doubled and diabetes has quadrupled.

Current recommendations to reduce saturated fat consumption and to eat health whole grains do not, after all, reduce rates of cardiovascular disease. That was my conclusion about saturated fat in 2009.

For a mere $68 you can read the NASEM report yourself. Better yet, read Tom Naughton’s thoughts for free.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: The diets I’ve designed are contrary to U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

PURE Study: High Carb Consumption Increases Risk of Death

How many innocent lives will be cut short by this tasty but silent killer?

Here’s the abstract of a new epidemiological study that investigated the relationships between diet, cardiovascular disease, and death rates. I don’t have the entire article. My sense is that the 18 countries studied are mostly non-Western:


The relationship between macronutrients and cardiovascular disease and mortality is controversial. Most available data are from European and North American populations where nutrition excess is more likely, so their applicability to other populations is unclear.


The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study is a large, epidemiological cohort study of individuals aged 35–70 years (enrolled between Jan 1, 2003, and March 31, 2013) in 18 countries with a median follow-up of 7·4 years (IQR 5·3–9·3). Dietary intake of 135 335 individuals was recorded using validated food frequency questionnaires. The primary outcomes were total mortality and major cardiovascular events (fatal cardiovascular disease, non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, and heart failure). Secondary outcomes were all myocardial infarctions, stroke, cardiovascular disease mortality, and non-cardiovascular disease mortality. Participants were categorised into quintiles of nutrient intake (carbohydrate, fats, and protein) based on percentage of energy provided by nutrients. We assessed the associations between consumption of carbohydrate, total fat, and each type of fat with cardiovascular disease and total mortality. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) using a multivariable Cox frailty model with random intercepts to account for centre clustering.

paleo diet, paleolithic diet, caveman diet

“Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”


During follow-up, we documented 5796 deaths and 4784 major cardiovascular disease events. Higher carbohydrate intake was associated with an increased risk of total mortality (highest [quintile 5] vs lowest quintile [quintile 1] category, HR 1·28 [95% CI 1·12–1·46], ptrend=0·0001) but not with the risk of cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular disease mortality. Intake of total fat and each type of fat was associated with lower risk of total mortality (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, total fat: HR 0·77 [95% CI 0·67–0·87], ptrend<0·0001; saturated fat, HR 0·86 [0·76–0·99], ptrend=0·0088; monounsaturated fat: HR 0·81 [0·71–0·92], ptrend<0·0001; and polyunsaturated fat: HR 0·80 [0·71–0·89], ptrend<0·0001). Higher saturated fat intake was associated with lower risk of stroke (quintile 5 vs quintile 1, HR 0·79 [95% CI 0·64–0·98], ptrend=0·0498). Total fat and saturated and unsaturated fats were not significantly associated with risk of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular disease mortality.


High carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, or cardiovascular disease mortality, whereas saturated fat had an inverse association with stroke. Global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings.

Source: Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study – The Lancet